The ASA Council said it found “significant flaws” in the original ruling, which concerned an ad starring ex-footballer Eric Cantona, which emphasised the brand’s French heritage and its key ingredient, the Strisselspalt hop.
Originally two complaints about the ad were investigated by the ASA, the first challenged whether was misleading because it implied that Kronenbourg 1664 was brewed in France, and the second said the ad was misleading because it implied that the hops used to produce Kronenbourg 1664 were grown in France, when he understood that was not the case.
Both were upheld but Heineken challenged the decision, arguing that the lager “could correctly and reasonably be described as a ‘French beer’ because of its heritage, the origin of its recipe and the use of the Strisselspalt hop, as well as its ownership and the yeast type used.”
Heineken also produced a letter from its supplier of Strisselspalt hop extract confirming that it was produced using hops grown in Alsace.
The Chair of the ASA Council confirmed yesterday that neither complaint is now upheld and that the brewer is free to use the ad in its original form.
The brewer’s UK marketing director, Jacco ven der Linden, said: “We are delighted that our advertising has finally been judged to be fully compliant with the CAP/BCAP codes and that there is no longer any suggestion that we could mislead consumers.
“Whilst we fully recognise and support the complaints process operated by the ASA as a hugely important part of effective self-regulation, in this particular case, we felt very strongly that the decision to rule against us was simply wrong and would set some unintended precedents for future advertising.
“Thankfully, the independent review process enabled us to highlight our concerns, and it is reassuring that strong & effective oversight is built into the complaints process.
“In practice, this means that we can continue to draw attention to Kronenbourg 1664's rich heritage from its origins in the Alsace, and the important role of the Strisselspalt hop in creating the beer's unique taste."
See the ad below: